resume on a desk

The basics of putting together a strong resumé

We all know that first impressions are critical. In the professional world, the resumé is the most common form of a first impression.

Updating a resumé or starting from scratch can seem daunting and confusing with all the possibilities available. But that’s part of the problem. Often, professionals will overthink their resumé trying to present too much as opposed to what the hiring manager really wants to know and understand.

The following is a short but helpful video from Deloitte that provides a simple structure and some tips for a professional and easy to read resumé.

why be an it consultant

Six reasons to be an independent IT consultant

We get it. Taking the leap from a permanent IT employee into the world of independent consulting is a huge and often scary one. Many people struggle with the decision for a number of reasons. However, there are significant benefits in doing so and we find that the independent consultants we work with are extremely happy they took that leap.

So if you’re on the fence as to what to do, here are a few reasons to consider when you look at your options as an independent IT consultant.

1. Do the work that fuels you

As an independent consultant, you won’t be constrained by the opportunities or work within one organization. Being independent means that you can move between companies, organizations and environments based on a project, initiative or environment that excites you the most. This means you’ll be more happy, productive and satisfied in your day-to-day work.

2. It can be more lucrative

We won’t make a blank statement and say that you will make more money as an independent IT consultant as everyone’s scenario is different, but ask any independent consultant you may know whether it’s been more lucrative since they made the transition. Most will tell you it is. In fact, a report by MBO Partners out of the US states that nearly half of the independent workforce (47%) reported making more money working on their own than they would in a traditional permanent job.

3. Tax deductions

Sure you’ll have costs with running your own business, which you may not have had to deal with when you worked for someone else. Having said that, those costs entitle you to some special perks. Whether it’s professional memberships, subscriptions, fuel, software or professional services, there are multiple expenses you can write off as an independent IT consultant.

4. The ability to move on

Often you may find yourself doing work or working in an environment that doesn’t provide the fulfillment you’re looking for. The nature of being an independent IT consultant is that you don’t have to stay in one spot if you choose not to. A permanent employee can often feel stuck in a position, where as IT consultants, you have the flexibility to move on from a contract if you choose to do so.

independent it consultants

 

5. Broaden your skill-set

When you are consulting, you often find yourself in different environments with different people working on different projects. This is a great way to expand your current skills and learn from a wide variety of people and approaches. You can see what works well in different environments and learn what can work best in a given project or initiative. In other words, the more you consult, the more knowledgeable and experienced you become, making you that much more valuable and attractive of a hire. It allows you to become better at what you do.

6. Expand your network

Working on a variety of projects and initiatives within different organizations can only expand you professional network. A permanent employee is limited to working with the same people, often for many years. Independent IT consulting connects you with different teams in different environments, creating a network that you can leverage for years to come.

tips for a job interview

Tips for a more successful job interview

As an independent IT consultant, finding the right opportunity at the right time is exciting. But it doesn’t end there. The job interview is the key final step that will help you find that perfect placement that matches your skills and expertise. So it’s important to go into that interview prepared and ready to present your best self.

The following are some tips we like to give the consultants we work with

The more knowledgeable you are about an opportunity prior to an interview, the better you can share with the hiring manager the details that make you the perfect fit. This starts with taking the time to research the company, the hiring manager and the position itself. Know what makes the company tick, their values, goals, their culture and even their structure. You can do this using the annual report, or better yet, reach out if you know someone who works there already. Sometimes a job ad might not tell you what you need to know about the position, so prior to the interview, ask if you can see a job profile of the position or even an overview of the expected competencies. This can help you determine the scenarios or key points you want to share in the interview.

2. Review common interview questions and prepare responses

A little secret is that there a number of the same questions asked in almost every interview. In fact, you can find multiple sources on the web that can tell you what these expected interview questions are. Take the time to find those that would be most applicable for your position and have responses ready. Don’t hesitate to document those responses on paper and take it with you to the interview. If you get stuck on a question, take the time to reference your sheet. The hiring manager will not have a problem if you take the time to look up the response that best reflects you and how you fit into the role.

3. Dress for Success

Even when you are interviewing at a workplace where dress is casual, the interview outfit needs to be professional. This is your first impression and it’s important that you reflect that you mean business. No one will judge you if you’re over dressed, but there’s a good chance they will take not if you are under dressed.

4. Arrive early

Arriving late for an interview can end your opportunity before it begins. Be there 10-15 minutes early. You may have to sit and wait for a few minutes, but it’s worth it.

5. Be human

An interview is part of an important process, but that doesn’t mean it has to be cold. It’s important that you convey the type of person these people want in their space and their culture moving forward. So be upbeat, confident and authentic. This means it’s okay to smile, a personable when appropriate and to certainly be yourself. It’s not about trying to fool the organization into hiring you. It’s to show them your best self and a very real way.

7. Be a S.T.A.R.

When asked behavioural questions and providing examples from your past work history, think of the acronym STAR. Start with the Scenario to set up your example. Talk about the Tasks or Actions that you took to address or take on the scenario. And finally, let them know the Results – what outcome were you able to affect that had a positive change or impact.

8. Don’t just answer questions – ask them as well

It’s always a good idea to ask questions when given the opportunity in an interview. It shows that the position and organization is important enough that you’ve given a lot of thought or consideration to find more information. Ask about the culture or the organization, what the interviewers like best about working there or what they feel is the biggest challenge the organization faces. It can also give you insight into the fact whether the organization is a good fit for you too.

10. Be prepared when they ask you about your weaknesses

You’re going to be asked this question – so be ready. Be authentic and don’t provide a self-serving response that tries to make it look like a strength (“I work too hard.”)

Here’s a video to provide some nice tips.

11. Send an email thanking the interviewer

To cap off the fact that the opportunity is important to you, demonstrate that you are appreciative of their time and consideration by sending a quick thank-you email to the interviewer. This tip isn’t just to improve your chances of becoming the final candidate, it’s also just common courtesy.